After an exhausting search you have finally found it! You chose your wedding dresses because it was perfect for you in every way and you want to keep it that way. Perhaps you are planning on passing it on to a daughter or daughter in law. Some plan on reworking there dress and wearing it at a future wedding. There are many reasons to preserve a dress and whether you are planning to seal, box, or bag the dress a proper cleaning is the most important and care sensitive step in the process. Learning about various cleaning methods and services is something every bride or bride to be should invest some time in and the costs associated should be in budgeted for in your wedding plans.
Even if you were careful and the dress looks fine it still needs to be examined and cleaned top to bottom. Just because the dress appears clean and white it may not be. Sugar based soiling, such as champagne, will not show up immediately but will eventually turn yellow or dark brown. Many rely on professionals to clean their dress, but a few clean it themselves. Beware either way. A well meaning friend offering to clean the dress for you while on the honey moon can ruin your exquisite memento in a heartbeat. Likewise an inexperienced dry cleaner can do equal harm. Windex won cut it here gals. Improper cleaning techniques or solutions can cause irreparable discoloration or damage to fabrics, something no amount of consolation can cure.
A dress preservation service is the safest yet most expensive route. Rates start at around $200, but can sometimes be as high as $1000. Here you can expect your dress to be operated on using clinical standards. Experts with special training and an encyclopedic knowledge of how fabrics interact with cleaning solutions and solvents will carefully examine the entire dress noting any areas that require special attention. Technicians in white lab coats and gloves then meticulously clean the gown according to a detailed care plan.
If you are on a budget and the dress is in relatively good condition you could consider cleaning it yourself. The methods you choose will depend on the kind of staining, the fabric, and decorative trims, such as beading or sequins. Wet cleaning techniques are safe for polyester and this is the best way to remove heavy stains, and starch deposits from manufacturing (which mice will be attracted to). Rayon or silk should be dry-cleaned with perchloroethylene. If you are going to pay for dry cleaning be sure to ask if they are using virgin or recycled solvents. Recycled solvents can leave deposits on your dress that will eventually yellow.